Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Football: Early enrollee recruits show promise on rising Badgers team

Seven new Badgers move onto campus
Ahmad Hamid

Badgers fans just got a sneak peek at the future of Wisconsin football when seven new early enrollee recruits arrived on campus two weeks ago.

“We’re about to have some fun,” Wisconsin Football said in a tweet introducing the newest members of the team.

The recruits represent some of the best recruiting Wisconsin football has done in recent years as among the enrollees are three three-star players, two four-stars and one five-star. These players mean business for the future of Badger football.


Among these recruits, TJ Bollers looks to provide some extra strength at defensive end for the Badgers. The 6-foot-3-inch, 250 pound Iowa native chose Wisconsin amidst offers from the likes of SEC heavyweight Alabama, Notre Dame and eight other Big Ten teams, as well as others. Needless to say, TJ is committed to being a Badger and is ready to get to work.

ESPN top-200 edge rusher TJ Bollers bolsters Wisconsin’s recruiting class

Four-star Bollers recorded a whopping 45.5 tackles in his 2018 season of high school football and followed up with a strong 29 tackles the year after, contributing to his career record of 90 tackles at the high school level. With that kind of ferocity on the other side of the ball, offenses will have to take special care when game planning against Bollers.

Another addition to the defensive end position, three-star Mike Jarvis, comes to Wisconsin all the way from New Jersey, the state that seems to be a pipeline recruiting state for Head Coach Paul Chryst after Jonathan Taylor and Jalen Berger’s signings. Nineteen other D1 offers were not enough to earn a commitment from Jarvis as he accepted his offer from Wisconsin just two months after receiving it. 

The 15th highest rated player in New Jersey, Jarvis provides even more firepower to a growing defensive end position. Jarvis also brings some versatility to the team, with experience on both sides of the ball throughout his time in high school.

From Colorado, Al Ashford III, was welcomed to Madison among the others in hopes to help the team’s pass defense out, playing cornerback for the Badgers. Throughout his time in high school, Ashford helped his team go undefeated, winning a Colorado state championship while also participating in track and field. 

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Coming in at 6-foot-1-inch and 170 pounds, three-star Ashford looks to round out a solid Badgers pass defense by locking down the deep ball with his track star quickness. 

For the final defensive player, the team welcomes Florida native Jake Chaney, a four-star inside linebacker. Chaney chose Wisconsin over two teams with growing talent that both had great seasons last year, Indiana and Cincinnati.

Chaney’s father played linebacker at Florida State from 1988 to 1991 and served as head coach for Chaney’s high school in Lehigh Acres, Florida. Chaney recorded a phenomenal 100 tackles in high school, including 10 tackles for loss, showing excellent promise in the future of the Badgers linebacker corps.

Riley Mahlman, a four-star offensive tackle from Minnesota, is the first addition to the offense for the Badgers in 2021. Mahlman had tough choices to make in recruitment, turning down offers from other Big Ten foes such as Ohio State, Iowa and Northwestern, among others. This 6-foot-7-inch, 290 pound lineman will make an excellent addition to the dominant Wisconsin run game and famously consistent offensive line.

Mahlman was named to the All American Bowl his senior year, showing his top tier ability in playing offensive line. Though he played tight end mostly in high school, his athleticism in both football and basketball, as well as his towering frame, lead recruiters to speculate that Mahlman may have a future in the NFL.

Three-star tight end recruit Jack Pugh rounds out the offense with an excellent addition to Wisconsin’s passing game. At 6-feet 5 inches and 235 pounds, Pugh is used to playing both tight end and wide receiver.

Scouts have touted Pugh for his excellent size and speed, noting that his time in college will be “highly productive.” Another big win for Wisconsin, Pugh had the attention of schools like Alabama, Penn State and West Virginia.

Five-star Duncan McKinley is Wisconsin’s newest special teams recruit promising to bring some added precision to the long snapping position. An Eau Claire, Wisconsin native, McKinley chose Wisconsin over offers from Minnesota, Iowa and Iowa State. 

An offer to suit up for the Badgers has been a dream for McKinley ever since he was young, driving him to turn down valuable scholarship offers from other schools around the country.

Each of the seven new recruits brings their own new and unique skill set to a rising Wisconsin Badgers team. As the young players begin their spring workouts and practices, make sure to look out for updates on the new recruits in the future. 

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